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How Entrepreneurs Manage the Time Thief

Posted May 15th, 2015 in Business Management

How Entrepreneurs Manage the Time Thief"Where did the day go?"  How many entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to manage their time better to be more productive and avoid the time thief.


"How do I find the time to write and do marketing when I'm balancing running a business, family, friends, etc."

Marcus Sheridan was asked this question and asked us to share our experiences with him in an email.  I decided to apply one of my lessons learned and 'kill two birds with one stone' - my email became a blog post. I am sure at times, we have all questioned how we do it.. balance work, family and a little bit of fun.  How do we get everything done? Have you thought about what challenges you face?  What lessons have I learned over the years?  As an independent Sales, Marketing and Public Relations professional, and a mom, I have a few to say the least.

Tips on How Entrepreneurs can Manage the Time Thief

Challenges

  1. Home  'office' in a small house being shared by family, of all ages, and a dog - the dream of a separate room with a door.
  2. Time to create new networks - offline and online
  3. Minimum 8 hours sleep.  Not just a want, but a need.
  4. Not wanting to say "no" - An overachiever for sure, so this has been a challenge
  5. Remembering my schedule is as important as everyone else's.  I tend to be TOO flexible.
  6. Love to talk - part of being in sales & communications, but truly a distraction when it is not managed.
  7. Easily distracted by just about anything  - "Look.. something shiny.."  :)

Tips and Strategies

  1. Making a daily work schedule as if I was going to work - Seems overly routine, but it works.  i.e. kids off to school at 8:30, Coffee & read til 9am, 9am on computer, read blogs, and other online articles until 10:30 and then send out some cool links I find (slightly past this now), and then start working through my tasks.
  2. Being realistic with my goals -  Only wanting to take on as much as I can manage, I spend quite a bit of time discussing goals and expectations (what does success look like to them, editorial calendar, etc) with new clients so that we can mutually agree upon what is achievable - for their calendar and mine.
  3. Organized- Staying organized is key.  I find myself defaulting back to using MS Outlook to manage all my emails;  however, I am finding that keeping my information in the 'cloud' gives me access to my information wherever I go. That is a good thing.  I am working on using my GOOGLE account more frequently because of this.  Other organization software I had a chance to research, that is worth exploring:
    1. Project Management software - www.asana.com . Still in beta, but has promise.
    2. Evernote great for taking notes.. anywhere!  Great apps for android.
  4. Health - A friend recently gave me some advice "If you spend the time invested in being healthy, it will keep you from spending the time being sick"  Figure that I would rather be healthy than sick, so I spend my time exercising & eating right - at least I try.
  5. "Kill two birds with one stone" - Have a meeting while cycling or over lunch, turn a responding email into a blog post (such as this one! ), driving while listening to my PR podcasts  or audiobooks, etc.
  6. Write it down -  I still use paper for my 'to-do / my thoughts' list at my desk .. not sure if this is a good idea, but it lets me write down my 'brain storming' ideas as well after I turn off my computer.  If I write it down, I am not mentally distracted by thinking I might forget it.  Saying that.. anything important, I do put it into my online task list.
  7. Flexibility & Mobility- I have to be flexible and be creative on how to get things done on time.  If one of the kids is sick, etc., I have to  be ready to go.  I make sure I have my smart phone, KOBO e-book, ipod, notepad, ipad and laptop ready at a moments notice in case I have to go somewhere (ie. sit in a waiting room for instance).  I have to say, that my ipad is becoming more and more my 'go-to' tech tool the more I use it.
  8. Phone - My mobile phone is for business & personal, so I check it regularly.  However, I follow some basic etiquette rules (i.e. phone off during meals or during meetings, business calls to voice mail after hours unless an emergency, etc. ) which lets me focus on the task at hand.  This not only offers increased respect from my client (or family member), but lets me be more efficient.
  9. Remember time is worth something - Spend time on volunteer work & personal development, but there has to be realistically proportionate to time spent for billable hours.
Still a work in progress.  Time management is a challenge for all of us, but mostly those who don't go to an office everyday where there is a boss, that is physically present, forcing you to meet his/her goals.   I welcome all the technology that is offered to us these days.   It allows for us to be flexible and more automated, the ability to work remotely, and to have more time with my family.  However, the challenges for time management still remains, and the greatest skill I need to develop is just plain discipline. Any personal lessons learned to share?

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